For more than 40 years, Kira Wadman could not drink milk without what she describes as “serious discomfort.” She had heard that raw milk was sometimes better tolerated, so she gave it a try. When she experienced no issues, she signed up on a waiting list for local raw milk.
After months of waiting without moving up the list, she decided to take the plunge and buy her own cow.
“It was the best decision we ever made,” recalls Wadman.
It was 2011 and she and her husband, Theo, were living on a few acres in Corvallis. They began selling extra milk to neighbors, and learned how to make butter, cheese, clabbered milk and probiotic-rich, lacto-fermented products.
“We were at our limit for the space we had and the number of cows we could legally have if selling direct off the farm,” Kira Wadman said. Meanwhile, their first grandson, Helios, had just been born on the farm. “We decided that the health benefits and outcomes were so compelling, that we started looking for land to further our mission to bring this food and health information to more families.”
They purchased a 160-acre parcel in Yoncalla in 2012 and officially founded Helios Farms. Over the past eight years, their Jersey herd has expanded to more than 25 cows, serving over 250 families between Roseburg and Portland with fresh milk and cream every week.
Locally, Theo can be found almost every Saturday at the Umpqua Valley Farmer’s Market, greeting familiar farmshare owners with friendly banter and (in pre-COVID times at least) offering free samples to curious passersby.
In addition to raw milk, Helios Farm also offers beef, pork, chicken and eggs through private livestock shares. The animals are pasture-raised, fed solely on grass and hay — strictly no soy, corn or GMO feed. They do not give their animals antibiotics or vaccines, but instead rely on natural methods of health improvement such as high dose vitamin C.
Vitamin C has become a passion for Theo. He is an admin for two Facebook groups on the topic. One, “Vitamin C & Orthomolecular Medicine for Optimal Health” has over 73,000 members. Another, “Vitamin C Therapy During Pregnancy, Birth, & Baby,” has close to 8,000 members. Theo believes that vitamin C can work wonders in terms of ensuring complication-free delivery, in healing injury and in preventing illness. He is working on a documentary and a children’s book about the topic.
Want healthy fats? Join the clubThe couple also believes that raw dairy products have healing properties. To that end, Theo recently formed the Healthy Fats Private Membership Association (HFPMA). This membership structure enables them to legally sell products such as their cultured cream, which is a sour raw cream using their unique, room-temperature culture.
Other products include fresh colostrum from the dairy, Helios Farms “Single-Moo Milk” from association herd shares, cream from association-owned herd shares, tallow and ghee.
They soon hope to offer cultured butter and cultured buttermilk, cheese and other raw dairy products.
“Helios Farms is all about restoring and preserving the microbiome,” Theo Wadman said. “The centerpiece of Helios Farms is a raw dairy. It turns out that milk has powerful prebiotic and probiotic components that tune and rebalance the microbiome for health. Drinking raw milk tunes the human gut microbiome, providing health restoration for many.
“Fermenting the milk also magnifies the microbial intelligence of the milk, so chickens and pigs at Helios Farms are getting food soaked in fermented milk, which balances their microbiome. Their manure impacts the soil microbiome, which in turn impacts the cow microbiome in following seasons of grazing. Over time, a farm with a raw dairy as its centerpiece tunes the microbiome of all the animals on the farm and all the people in the farm community. It is agriculture and foods that fall back on the microbial intelligence of milk, which is essentially falling back on the intelligence of God. What could be better?”